These 10 Cheap Muscle Cars Are More Fun Than Most Sports Cars

Many Americans will appreciate the importance of owning a traditional muscle car. They’re a continuation of the old-school mentality of stuffing a big V8 engine into a small automobile. Unlike sports cars, which are meant to touch curves as closely as possible, muscle cars move quickly in a straight line. Unfortunately, a slew of events collided to bring their market domination to an end, including petrol shortages, pollution, and fuel economy regulations.

However, if you have some financial wherewithal to invest in a set of wheels and power is your passion, there are some fantastic muscle cars available for cheap. You can get behind the wheel of a roaring demon of a car that gets attention on the highway and frightens people at red lights for less than you may expect. Starting with the oldies that defined street-legal drag racers in the 1970s and all the way up to the modern muscle powerhouse from 2015. Let’s take a look at several reasonably priced muscle vehicles that we’d prefer to own above a sports car.

10 2012 Ford Mustang GT ($12,000)

2012 Ford Mustang GT
Via: Mecum

There’s a 2012 Mustang for everyone, whether you’re searching for a joyful and economical muscle car to relive your childhood or a street racing monster to keep you from growing old.

2013 Ford Mustang GT: The muscle car that was produced for all ages.
via: Mustang Specs

Its 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 produces 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and can speed up from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Also, It has been masterly tuned in the low 4-second range by various car lovers. This straight-line exotic can be yours to tame for $12,000 to $15,000.

Related: The Ford Mustang GT Is The Most American Car

9 1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z ($12,000)

1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z For Sale In Maroon
via Mecum Auctions

The IROC-Z Camaro was first presented to the globe for the 1985 model year as an option package on the Z28. Underneath the hood was a naturally aspirated, fuel-injected 5.0-liter V8 engine with 210 horsepower, a 0-60 time of 6.9 seconds, and a top speed of 137 mph.

1990 Camaro IROC-Z For Sale In White With Yellow Stripes
via Barrett-Jackson

Not only is it powerful, but it’s also very smooth and handles really well. If you don’t mind, there would be an odometer with over 100,000 miles on it and a few concerns to take care of. However, one in fine shape may be had for $12,000 to $18,000.

8 1993 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra ($32,000)

1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra quarter front
Via Hayes Auction Services

The Fox-body Mustang platform’s ultimate triumph was Ford’s SVT Mustang Cobra, which debuted in 1993. The SVT Cobra is the Fox-body Mustang’s sportiest and most powerful model. A highly customized 5.0-liter V8 provides 235 all-American horsepower to the drivetrain.

1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Rear shot
Via Mecum

With a top speed of 140 mph, the car accelerates from zero to 60 mph in under 5.9 seconds. A fair-condition one will set you back around $30,000.

Related: A Detailed Look Back At The Fox-Body Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

7 1996 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS ($13,000)

Red 1996 Camaro Z28 SS
Via Wikipedia

You’ve probably heard of the Camaro Knights if you’re a diehard Camaro lover. A triple black Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS convertible in 1996 was the epitome of cool. It had a 305 horsepower V8 engine, which was 20 hp more than the standard Z28.

Red 1996 Chevrolet Camaro
Via Chevrolet

With a top speed of 150 mph, it goes from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds. One can buy this for as little as $13,000, according to Hagerty.

6 1971 Ford Torino GT ($20,000)

1971 Ford Torino GT 2 Door Hardtop
Via Mecum

Without breaking the wallet, the Torino GT is among the most interesting muscle cars available. Despite the fact that most muscle car aficionados regard 1970 to be the apex year, the value of 1971 model cars appears to be increasing. Its base engine was a 5.0-liter V8 with 210 horsepower though more powerful engines were optional.

1971 Ford Torino GT rear shot
Via Mecum

Moreover, it looks badass and has among the coolest headlights of the 1970s. These cars have gained in worth in the $20,000 range, with advertised prices of excellent condition models up to $30,000.

Related: This Is What You Need To Know Before Buying A Ford Torino GT

5 1970 Mercury Cyclone GT ($19,000)

1970 Mercury Cyclone GT Cropped

The 1970 Mercury Cyclone GT is unique because there has never been a vehicle that looks quite like it. The protruding snout and available hidden headlights provide a sinister appearance.

1970 Mercury Cyclone GT 2 Cropped

A 5.8-liter V8 engine with 250 horsepower and 355 lb-ft of torque powers it. The Cyclone GT reaches a maximum speed of 130 mph and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. For roughly $19,000 for one in good condition, the Cyclone GT is an affordable nightmare to any sports car.

Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Mercury Cyclone

4 2005 Pontiac GTO ($20,000)

2005 Pontiac GTO At Mecum Auctions
Via: Mecum Auctions

The Pontiac GTO is arguably the most well-known and popular of the 1960s muscle cars. For the 2004-2006 model years, GM reintroduced the badge on a two-door V8-powered car that speeds up from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and runs the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds.

2005 Pontiac GTO 2-Door Coupe
Via: Mecum

The GTO was more than simply a capable muscle vehicle; it was also a drag racer’s terror. There may be solid LS1 cars for around $16,000 for sale, but the even more powerful LS2 cars (2005-2006) may require a little haggling to stay around $20,000.

3 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 WS6 ($27,000)

1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 WS6
via BringaTrailer

The 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (shown above) was, as always, the top dog in the Firebird line. However, the Firebird Formula, slotted just beneath, was something of a better value as it could be optioned with the same 400 c.i. V8 with 220 hp (called “T/A 6.6”) that was available for the Trans Am.

via cincyclassiccars

With that potent engine and a four-speed stick, either car could sprint to 60 in 7.1 seconds, which was very quick for that time. A well-preserved Firebird Formula with that engine option costs approximately $25,000 to $30,000, with the Trans Ams fetching much more.

Related: Black Beauty: 1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula Restomod

2 2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am ($13,000)

Pontiac Trans Am Firebird Yellow
via Classic Auto Mall

Pontiac’s Firebird reached the end of the line in 2002. With the standard 310 horsepower V8, a 2002 Trans Am accelerates from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds.

2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 Side View Barrett Jackson
Via: Barrett Jackson

These Trans Ams were some of the most capable and underrated machines on the road. Still, it’s understandable why one would prefer a more rarely seen classic car over an early 21st Century muscle car like the 2002 flagship Firebird. If you want one in good condition, have about $13,000 ready in your hand.

1 2010-2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS ($24,000)

Chevrolet Camaro SS - Front quarter
Via Mecum Auctions

When it was unveiled in April 2009, the fifth generation Camaro was greeted with enthusiasm by Camaro fans all around the world. This legendary brand was once again prowling the roadways. When designing the new Camaro, Chevrolet stuck loyally to the original theme.

Chevrolet Camaro SS - Rear Quarter
Via Mecum Auctions

Driving the Camaro SS is, without a doubt, an adventure in and of itself. When combined with a manual transmission, the 6.2-liter V-8 produces 426 horsepower. The SS will accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5 seconds. If you can spend between $22,000 and $26,000, you can find good examples.

5 Muscle Cars That Cost A Fortune (& 5 You Can Buy For Under 10k)

Read Next

About The Author